In our offices at DTLT we are all frequently victims of listening to each others’ diatribes against any number of forces threatening higher education, online community, and the world, in general. One of Jim Groom’s favorite topics to rail about is “Twitter is killing Blogging.”
(I could go look for a post on his blog to link that last sentence to, but, truth be told, the man is so prolific that a) it takes nine years for a search query to process on his blog and b) when you do get the results, invariably there are so many posts related to your search terms it takes nine years to find the one you’re looking for. I don’t have nine years, so I’m not going to try. Color me lazy.)
I frequently push back on his statement because a) have you seen the man’s Twitter stream? Talk about people who live in glass houses b) truthfully, Twitter has become *my* main form of staying on top of the pulse of my online network and I DON’T LIKE BEING CRITICIZED.
But I’m here to publicly acknowledge that Jim may have a point.
Sometime last fall I stopped using Google Reader. I’m not sure how it happened. Maybe it was when my iPod Touch died briefly (thanks, Graeme!) and so my Reader button got removed. I think it was more gradual, actually. Over time, I’d started to rely on Twitter to tell me when my contacts had written a new blog post. As time passed by I figured that I didn’t need Reader. I was seeing people’s posts. Maybe not ALL of them, but, frankly, what I was seeing was enough to keep my busy. Maybe, for me, Twitter was just a better way to stay on top of the blogs I read.
Bad, Martha. Bad, bad, Martha.
Last week, I finally re-opened Google Reader. I was scared to do so, actually. I thought it would yell at me (kind of like my fear of going to the dentist.) Actually, it was very kind and gentle. For most of the blogs I read the number of posts that were marked unread was actually pretty small. I’m not sure why. There was lots of stuff I hadn’t seen that wasn’t marked unread. But I didn’t complain.
I started picking through the list, visiting some sites I hadn’t been to in months. And I realized that Twitter was a very poor substitute for an RSS reader. I had missed whole topics of conversation. More importantly, I had missed almost *all conversation.* I guess it never occurred to me that although (some) people post to Twitter when they have a new blog post up, there are no tweets about comments. Duh.
So, I’m recommitting to my reader. And, hopefully, you’ll see more of me around your blog parts. And, Jim, you were kinda right.